Chapter 1.

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British people aren't really made for talking on public transport. Most chose to either read their books or newspapers. Of course, you have the workers, creases appearing on their foreheads as they ferociously tap on their keyboards. The university students that retained haggard appearances from late drunken nights; those were memories Charlie was all too happy to forget, and the man pushing the trolley who was polite enough to always smile, despite the grim expressions most bared. But that was as far as most communication went, and it is fair to say that most prefer to keep to themselves. It is just an unwritten law.

The woman seated in front of Charlie, however, broke this law daily. Dressed in her red coat and a bright smile on her face, she spoke animatedly to the elderly stranger sat next to her. Charlie knew it was a stranger as the woman would talk to anyone and everyone.
Entering the train, she would take a seat in the second carriage and place her bag on her lap, inviting others to join her. And whoever the lucky person was, would have the joy of speaking to the woman for 25 minutes, non-stop. Charlie could hear her from his assigned seat that he booked every morning for his routine commute.

Charlie had never been lucky enough to strike a conversation with her, it seemed that she was particular where she sat. Always in the fifth row. Even if there were seats unavailable in that row but available elsewhere, she would choose to stand in between. It was strange, but the girl must have had her reasons, and it was part of how she caught his attention. Charlie liked to sit in the sixth row as it was the centre of the carriage. He had asked himself, why didn't he just book a seat in one of her rows to be in with a chance but he hadn't dared to do so.

Instead, he preferred to listen to her speak amicably to the strangers she chose to converse with.

Charlie had to admit, he disliked it at first. The constant noise was an earache and he envied that despite the climate, or whether she looked tired, she was full of life.  The conversations varied from day to day but remained limited to her current self, never falling onto her past. On the fourth day, when he put away his paper in defeat and paid attention, he realised that this woman had a lot to say and what she said was relevant. Maybe not to the world but to him, it mattered.

Last week's conversation partner was covered in tattoos and piercings; a green mohawk was his chosen hairstyle. Charlie was not one to judge, but she spoke to him harmoniously, despite how odd their pairing. The topic, even more surprisingly, was knitting.
Deep down,  he knew his incredulity was fuelled by jealousy. Her confidence stirred a fit of envy within Charlie that he had never experienced before. But as he continued to listen, the negative emotions transformed into admiration, begging him to ask the question why hadn't she noticed him? He was only sat one row behind.

There were, of course, the people that didn't want to talk to her. The ones that would prefer she didn't say anything, and she would respect that and turn to someone on the aisle. It was like she had this need within her to speak, and Charlie couldn't help but now respect her for it. Those fortunate to talk to her, always left with a pleasant smile on their face. It was like her own form of magic.

And Charlie wanted to grasp her sorcery with both hands. Her confidence drew his attention like a puppet on a string.

Today's conversation was about the latest films being released in the cinema. There were three that the woman was interested in watching over the month, and so she was stopping her weekly visit to the local café to save up. The elderly woman agreed that the sequel to Disney's Frozen had also gained her piquancy as its predecessor was a delight. Naturally, this led to the discussion on whether sequels could ever match the expectations set by the original and it was pictorial for Charlie to see the two mirror smiles of agreement.

The station neared, and he picked up his bag from the floor, placing his newspaper in the front pocket. He would stop reading when the woman made her appearance, but it was out of habit; he picked one up and read the cover stories. Her exchanges would always be more attention-grabbing than the news that had become as grey as the dark clouds outside. Brexit was not the most delightful topic, and the current climate change crisis was devastating. The thought of dying polar bears due to melting ice caps was not a happy subject to read alongside breakfast.

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